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Voices From Fukushima 2: Radiation Had Seeped Into Every Space

The March 11 earthquake shook our house terribly, but by dusk, we’d picked up the mess. We felt independent because we had a generator, our own well, a garden, and a wood stove.
By evening, we knew that something was very wrong at the Fukushima Plant some 20 kilometers away. They were evacuating people within a three-kilometer radius. Just to be safe, we decided to leave too. We packed enough clothes for a few days, put the children in the car wearing pajamas, and drove away. We had no idea that the life we loved ended in that moment. We were gradually to learn that there was no going back.
And that we were losing all our friends. We’d become close, because we all needed each other’s help to survive in the mountains.
In early May, we were allowed a short visit home from our evacuation sites. The peaks and hollows were celebrating spring in all its glory. I yearned so for this world that I was tempted to believe that it wasn’t really contaminated after all. But out in the garden, the dosimeter was showing 1.5 microseiverts per hour. Sweet and beloved as our home was, radiation had seeped into every space that connects us with nature.
I sat down in the garden and wept.
From my heart, I cry—never let this never happen again! Don’t wait till your own nuclear accident changes your mind! By then, it’s too late. It is a crime to continue with nuclear energy. Not with anger and hatred, but with the bright strength born of solidarity, let’s change the world.
Ai Ohtsuka
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